Adding more CARDIO + facing personal truths

I’ve mentioned that my current workout “plan” (in air quotes because it was quite hit or miss in November on how much I followed “the plan”) is from EmPowered Fitness and basically looks like this:

  • Day 1: Legs
  • Day 2: Chest/Shoulders/Triceps/Abs + 20 minutes cardio
  • Day 3: Back and Biceps + 20 minutes cardio
  • Day 4: Legs & Abs
  • Day 5: Full body strength + 20 minutes cardio
  • (Day 6- not in the official plan, but added by me: Stretch/ Yoga of some kind)
  • Day 7 – Rest or walk

When I started this monthly program back in September, my “plan” was to add those cardio sessions on at the end of my strength workout (at the gym)- either 20 minutes on the stairmill, elliptical or maybe (but probably not), running on the treadmill.

Let’s see how that’s been going:

(scrolling back through my workout logs…..)

Since September 1st, I think I can find record of approximately FIVE formal cardio sessions. 😬

Yeesh. That is not a lot. Yes, I have walked a bunch, but I don’t like, speed walk when I walk. I do not sweat. I am not sure my heart rate really goes anywhere, either. Maybe very slightly. I mostly just… walk, at a pretty average pace while listening to a podcast.

So why am I bailing on the cardio??

  1. I don’t like doing cardio.
  2. Real cardio feels hard to me…. gets me all out of breath and stuff.
  3. I often run out of time. I typically am already kind of squeezing gym workouts into my work day/ before/ after, and the strength routines already take ~45 min or so. Sometimes as much as an hour, if I’m being pokey or wasting time (happens a little too often). Plus I have to get into the gym, and leave and get home, obviously. (I live 1 block from my gym though, so at least commute is VERY minimal.)
  4. I sometimes don’t want to get all sweaty, if I have a meeting coming up or am not going to have time to shower after my workout.
  5. I don’t really like doing cardio on a machine at the gym, especially. Boring! Blah.

What usually happens is that I go to the gym with the intent of doing, say, Day 2. Chest/shoulders + 20 minutes cardio.

So I get there, do my thing, maybe end up putzing around a little too long resting between weighs sets and then…. OH MY look at the time. I’d better get going!! Shucks, no time to do the cardio on my schedule. 🤣

Happens every time.

From a physique standpoint, I don’t really care that much about the cardio. It’s not going to like, “burn away” the nachos I’m going to eat on Friday. I fully realize that. Three 20-minute cardio sessions are not going to affect how I look.

But I DO care about my heart! And cardio is good for heart health. I feel that three 20 minute moderate/high intensity cardio sessions a week, plus frequent walks is plenty to maintain the health of my old ticker. (Plus, my heart rate does elevate on some strength sessions- especially lower body days.)

I gave this some thought. Clearly what I’ve been doing to fit in cardio isn’t working. But it feels like a non-negotiable to have some cardiovascular exercise in my life. So, best to switch it up.


Starting this week, my new cardio “plan” is to SCRATCH the intent of doing it at the gym. Just not really gonna happen I don’t think. Might as well face the music and be honest with myself.

My preferred type of cardio is something that gets me moving, but doesn’t make me feel like I’m going to die. (So no crazy intense HIIT). I don’t need anything that fancy- I just want to move, sweat a little, and get my heart rate up, while hopefully enjoying it.

SO, I have decided to go back to using Beachbody for my cardio workouts. I paid for the dumb year long membership over the summer (before I decided I wanted to transition back to the gym for strength workouts). Might as well use it!! I find the video format to be motivating for me, too, since I’m not as self-motivated on the cardio front.

I’m currently working through the cardio sessions in the Job One program. ALL the workouts in that program are exactly 20 minutes long. It’s perfect! (I am skipping the strength days, since I do that at the gym.) They are not overly difficult, but enough that I sweat and feel the effects. Mission accomplished.

Not sure I would find this program enough to do as my only workouts, but as a fill in on a busy day, or for cardio-only purposes, I think it has its place. I also love that there is an actual TIMER on the screen counting down the 20 minutes, so I know it’s literally exactly a 20 minute workout.

I have also started doing them immediately when I wake up in the morning, before I do the rest of my morning routine. It’s only 20 minutes!! It fits in easily. (ESPECIALLY because my habit subtraction goal for December is to cut my “lie in bed and scroll on my phone habit”!) So far I am 8/8 on this and it’s going fantastic. I used to easily spend 20 minutes doing that, so now instead I’m knocking out my cardio a couple times a week. Win-win. (p.s. 0% of me misses scrolling Facebook at 5:15 a.m. Seriously! 0%.)

I thought I would hate getting my blood pumping immediately when I wake up, but I’m kind of shocked to find that I really don’t mind it! (I mean, I used to workout in the morning, so this is not brand new information. But I haven’t done this in quite a while.) Again, maybe because it’s only 20 minutes, I enjoy the workouts, and it’s in the comfort of my basement (i.e. no need to look “presentable” for the gym or leave my house). I’ve been keeping the lights off in my office while I work out (except for my Christmas lights!) and it’s been very cozy and pleasant.

*Editing to add: In case you’re wondering, I am still doing the strength portion of my plan, just later on in the day, at the gym during a work break. (Today I have meetings so I will take a late lunch and go lift from 2-3ish.) It’s just the short cardio session happening first thing in the morning. Splitting this up has been more effective so far, I’m finding! Easier to fit in.*

So that’s the latest! We’ll see how it goes. I feel like I’m always trying things and switching things up…. oh well. Guess I’m a work in progress. 🙂

Daily Gratitude:

I am grateful for my Christmas nightlights! If you don’t have any, I’d highly suggest picking up one or two to scatter around your house. They are so cute and are just so fun and festive, and not expensive! We have 2 upstairs in the kitchen/ main area, and one in the basement rec room, and 1 in the main bathroom. I don’t really use them for a “nightlight” exactly, but more just to add another cute glowing decoration in the house!

kitchen next to the breakfast bar
dining area outlet
basement rec room. This one blinks/ twinkles!

9 thoughts on “Adding more CARDIO + facing personal truths”

  1. Good for you for switching up your routine, Kae. Making it fit into your schedule is really what it comes down to – and I agree, 20 min should be “easy” to fit in, esp. when you get it in first thing in the morning. 20 min always feels “doable” to me.
    I am a cardio junkie and I love a good sweat, but I should definitely get more strength training in (working on it!). Motivate me! LOL


  2. I’m so glad you’ve switched your routine to something that works better for you! I love cardio but I do it first thing in the morning; I don’t think I could do it later in the day. It’s all about what works for you!


  3. sounds like a great plan and it’s working. I do prefer carbio than strength, I like the wearing part that gives me the adrenaline. I am slowly moving back into cardio at the gym given the poor air quality outdoor. to me, strength training is something I need to mindfully add to my weekly routine or I’ll skip it. Sometimes I do it and don’t feel like I’ve workout much, otherdays it leave me sore for days, so finding the right balance is a challenge for me, but improving slowly.


  4. I’m so basic with my fitness I feel like I have ZERO to add to this discussion. I run – but not much over the winter – and I walk. That’s it! I do walk quickly and definitely get my heart rate up, but I haven’t done exercise videos in years. I’d love to do some in-person classes in 2023, but honestly, with the kids still needing an adult at home and with my husband traveling a lot…this probably won’t happen.

    We have a Christmas night light and I agree – they add such a fun, festive glow. It’s one of my favourite holiday decorations, actually! Ours is an adorable little moose (my Mom won it at a White Elephant swap and then gifted it to me!); I’ll try to remember to snap a picture over the holiday season and post it to the blog.


  5. That is awesome that you found a way to make it work! I think that the fact that you assessed it and changed is very motivating! I know we all have those things in our lives and it is sometimes hard to make the switch to actually getting it done.

    My nemesis is my bills, mail etc. I always pile it up on the kitchen counter and put “go through bills/mail” on my to do list and then each week I push it to the next week. It is really not that hard, as most bills are autopay, but for some reason those few admin chores just bore me. Once I get it done and the pile is cleared, I am happy but I always put it off. So I started going through it once a week while watching Alone and now the pile has been small for a few weeks!


    1. I used to have a pretty set routine that I always went through the mail/ file basket on Friday evenings, when the boys were younger. They’d often watch a show and I would do that. Well, now they are older and our Friday evenings are not often spent just at home like that anymore…. so I also struggle with the mail/bill file!! It piles up and drives me crazy, and I agree, I find it annoying and boring. There are always random things that I don’t know exactly what to do with, or that I just find a hassle to deal with. Totally smart to pair it with watching a show!! Great idea.


  6. I am glad you figured out a solution that works for you! It’s nice to have beachbody programs for things like that. I am a runner but I don’t run as much in the winter as I’m not hard core enough to run if it’s below 0, so I will pivot to doing more cardio workouts on beach body. I really like the liift4 plan since most of the workouts have a cardio component, so I’m getting my heart rate up and strength training. I tend to have the opposite problem from you – I need to do more strength training and less cardio!


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